Monday, August 23, 2010

When is it ok to use the "R" word???

Last week Alayna & I dealt with the R word face to face and I can honestly tell you that as a parent of a child with special needs it is NEVER ok to use the R word. It is hurtful.

Alayna & I walked into a doctor's office for a visit for me. I had only met this doctor one other time a week earlier but, in that meeting we discussed that I have daughter with down syndrome.

She happened to be 30 minutes late and apologized saying it was an emergency with one of her children. I immediately said, " I hope everything is ok" then the doctor said, "oh it was nothing really, actually it is just a retarded story"...and went on to explain how her daughter forgot to take something to school and she had to go and drop it off at the school for her.

Now there are millions of adjectives in the world. On this very day as I am standing there holding my sweet daughter she HAD to use this word?

I could have kept my mouth shut and walked away but (you know me better), I believe God specifically put me in this truly uncomfortable position to help me grow and to help me advocate for my daughter.

When she paused I immediately said, "Our family doesn't use that word and we would appreciate if you didn't either". She quickly said, "Oh, I would never use that word in reference to someone who IS intellectually challenged."

This second comment hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was face to face with someone I didn't really know, with whom I hadn't built a rapport, who obviously is educated but, she really thought that is was ok to use this word if she wasn't referring to someone with special needs.

I explained that it is never ok to use this word. I explained how hurtful this word is and how easily people throw it around.

Her next words then were heartfelt, " I am so sorry for using that word, I should not have used it and I am deeply sorry."

I have no idea if this doctor will think twice about using the R word again or not. My prayer is that she not only never uses it again but that she also goes on to advocate that others not use it either.

Please help eliminate the use of the R word in everyday speech.


ch said...

Oh, my good grief. And that is why God sent her to YOU, Rochelle. I'm absolutely positive I would still be standing there with my mouth open.

Thanks for always being an assertive champion for all of our kids. I think the R word stands to hurt the siblings of kids with Down syndrome just as much as it hurts the kids who have been diagnosed with it. I'm so glad you're out there defending all of them against having to find themselves in that situation. What a gal you are. :0)

Lori said...

Really?! That is unbelievable.
Good for you for taking a stand -- I am pretty I would have been with Courtney with my mouth hanging open.

JulieG said...

You are an inspiration Rochelle. I hope you don't mind if I memorize that reply and use it from now on. I had someone use that word in my own home last week and I was speechless and let it go.

Adrienne said...

Woo-hoo! Good for you Rochelle!!! So glad you said something! She will definitely think twice now before saying it, I'm sure of it!!!

Kim said...

Great job, Rochelle! I can just see you pausing for a millisecond and then moving forward with conveying this all-important message. Sometimes it's tough to let people know that it's NOT okay to say that word (and sometimes decent people use it). Thanks for being an advocate! You're an inspiration!

To Love Endlessly said...

Great for you for standing up for your girl and mine and so many others. Educated or not, people don't always think when they speak. Whenever I hear people with the word, I speak up too. Good for you!

Lacey said...

I bet she will think twice next time. She will have Alaina's beautiful face in her head, and she won't say it!

Heather said...

I have decided,we have decide,as a family that no matter what,no matter who,we will speak up.Is it easy every time?No.But if we can make a difference,and one person will decide to choose not to use that word,then it it beyond worth it.

Jake,our 9 year old,I literally the new kid on the block.Knows no one.New school,new everything.So last week at a school meeting,at lunch,kids in his group used the "R" word and he said something.He educated them on what Down syndrome was and about his sister and why that word hurts us and others like the sister he adores.So proud of him.If he could do it,we all can do it.

Here's hoping that doctor got the message loud and can only hope.

Ashley said...

Way to go! I wish I had the courage to stand up to people like that.